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In Florence, the piazzas are the gathering places for the neighborhoods, a place where you go to visit with friends, catch up on local gossip, do a little shopping, or simply mill around soaking up the vibes of the neighborhood. 

Sit in an outdoor cafe, looking across a piazza, and watch as people scurry to and fro, or join the fray and make your way towards the shops or attractions. Maybe you will want to meander through an outdoor market or just sit in the sunshine and listen to the sounds around you.

When you visit Florence, you will notice that most of the significant attractions can be found in the piazzas. But figuring out which square you want to explore first will be your biggest challenge! Just remember to drop your heavy or bulky bags at a Florence luggage locker while out and about on your adventure. Travel hands-free and see as much as you can.

Piazza della Signoria

One of the most historically significant piazzas in Florence, the Piazza della Signoria is a gathering place for locals and has been attracting visitors for years. It is home to several festivals and political rallies and was even the site for the 15th-century Bonfire of the Vanities. Standing in the shadows of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Piazza della Signoria is home to several amazing statues.

Situated next to the Uffizi Gallery, the Piazza della Signoria is almost always brimming with activity. The square is lined with delicious restaurants offering local comfort food to high-end delicacies at the Gucci Garden. There are also several bars including the Caffe Rivoire which is one of the most popular places for a cocktail or coffee in Florence.

Plan a visit to the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio which is a civic museum that highlights the history of the Palazzo Vecchio and how Florence became a Renaissance capital. Being a medieval city, the piazzas in Florence each had a particular function and the Piazza della Signoria was the political center for the Italian Renaissance.

Piazza della Repubblica

Located in the historical center of Florence, the Piazza della Repubblica is lined with boutique hotels, cafes, and artisan shops. The square can be found at the intersection of two primitive Roman roads, the Decumanus and the Cardo. It is only a couple of blocks from the Duomo and you can easily walk from the piazza to the Duomo.

Even though this square sits along ancient Roman roads, the piazza itself was rebuilt in the 19th century and all medieval remains were removed. But there is a colorful carousel in the square for the kids and is a great place to snap some photos.

Once called the Piazza Esedra, the Piazza della Repubblica is home to the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. The floor of the basilica has the Clementine Line, or Sundial, which is definitely a fun and interesting thing to see.

The Fontana delle Naiadi is right in the middle of the piazza, it was brought to Florence from Aniene in 144 BC. The fountain sits on four bronze figures reclining on an aquatic animal.

Piazza del Duomo

While this is considered a small piazza, it is a huge attraction in Florence because the cathedral complex is located here. The complex does cover most of the square and includes the Duomo, Campanile, and Baptistry.

The Baptistry actually is in the Piazza San Giovanni but most people consider this small square to be part of Piazza del Duomo. The Baptistry is one of the oldest buildings in the city and is an attraction you have to see in person.

The Piazza del Duomo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is right in the heart of the city. The Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore overlooks the piazza. Construction on the basilica started in 1296 but was not completed until 1436 when the Dome or Duomo was put in place by Filippo Brunelleschi.

Be sure to also take the time to soak up the full history of the piazza including Giotto’s Bell Tower. Tickets are available online or in person for guided tours through the Piazza del Duomo so you do not miss any of the wonderful structures in this square.

Piazza Santa Croce

Head just to the east of the Piazza della Signoria near the banks of the Arno, this square is one of the biggest piazzas in Florence and is home to several concerts, festivals, and rallies. The Calcio Storico match is also played here, this is where locals play football or soccer in traditional dress.

The piazza is surrounded by several medieval buildings and the Basilica of Santa Croce can be easily spotted at one end. The Piazza Santa Croce dates back to the 13th century and is the burial place for several famous people including Michelangelo, Galilei, Machiavelli, and Foscolo.

Check out the frescoes created by Giotto and many of the sculptures by Canova, Benedetto da Maiano, and Desiderio da Settignano. The Pazzi Chapel is just to the right of the basilica through the cloister that dates back to the 14th century.

Piazza Santo Spirito

This lively square was named after the Chiesa di Santo Spirito and is on the Oltrarno side of the city. Many Florentines prefer heading to the Piazza Santo Spirito because of its daily food marker which is open daily from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are also several bars, restaurants, and cafes that do not cater to tourists.

When you are looking for an authentic look into the daily lives of the Florentine people, Piazza Santo Spirito is the place to be. Stop by one of the second-hand markets filled with bric-a-brac, art, and antiques. Occasionally, the square is filled with live music and people gather for a good time.

The piazza was founded in the 1200s by the Augustinian friars who came together in the square for prayer. Eventually, a convent and church were built and the square was officially named.

Pretty Piazzas

The Florentine people gather in the piazzas as a way to connect with their past, and each other, and encourage healthy tourism. Deciding which piazzas you want to fully explore while in Florence can be a bit mind-boggling, but these five piazzas are the most significant and home to many amazing attractions.

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